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THERE has always been to my mind, telligence seems to have been as a dream : a something hallowed and mysterious—a to themselves, and is ever so now to strange shadowy hue which seems not us. Yet then there was the soul of bold of this world, cast over the period of the enterprise and watchful prowess; the history of Europe, generally designated mailed knight and lady fair—the castle, “the dark ages." The minds of the na- the warden, and the armed retainers tions seemed then to have sunk beneath the sternest encounters relieved by the the terrible and undermining convulsions brightness of soft eyes, and the stoniest which they had undergone, (ere the hearts refined and purified beneath the barbarian banners were triumphantly tender influence of woman's love. Then unfurled, and waved over the con- | too there were the name of Petrarch and quests of the Hun, the Vandal, and the his Laura, the wild and Aashing light of Ġoth,) into a long, dark, dismal night Ariosto's muse, and the shadowy, unof heavy and restless slumber. Their earthly inspiration of the patriot poet greatest efforts, inconsiderable though Dante. All, and much more than all always daring, resembled the misdirect- this, is circled in our eyes within a halo ed starts of a troubled rest. Their in which shades to softer loveliness, while
it does not obscure, those days of old As always happens in cases of this
and along with these their feuds and in the neighbourhood of Pisa, a legend bitter hostilities. In spite of all this, of those dark yet fondly recollected times. however, there were often little love I tell it, because it is of them, and this affairs between the youth of the two must be its only merit.
cities, genial and fond, though at times Every one knows, or at least ought burning into madness, the same as love to know the wretched condition to has always appeared and now appears which the city of Pisa was reduced a under the sun of Italy; bout the end of the fifteenth century. Then it was that this little state almost
“ Where fiercest passion riots unconfined,
And in its madness fires the softest mind." fell a victim to the ambition, or causeless vengeance, of the Florentines ; and About this time there lived in Pisa a but for a spark of high independence, rich Florentine merchant, by name Jaher only and best inheritance of the copo. He had retired many years from great republic, which still lingered a trade, living quietly and contentedly on mong the petty communities of Italy, his gains. Pisa had become his place together with a fixed and rooted hatred of residence, not so much from choice towards the invaders of her liberty, she as from the strong associations with would have been swept from her exis- which it was connected in his mindtence as a nation and a people.
reminiscences of his early love, which Just on the eve of the breaking out of his business-life and business-habits had that concealed and bitter enmity which
all been unable to efface. Pisa had been had long rankled in the bosoms of the the birthplace of his wife, and the first two states, Florence and Pisa, before the scene of the first and fondest affection wild invasion of Charles the Eighth of he had ever known. There too the curFrance upon the liberties of Naples had tain had dropped, and left him widowroused their animosity to its full and ed in heart and life. It was to him reckless strength, their inhabitants therefore as the enchanter's palace of lived in a sort of society together, re
light and darkness, which he would strained and suspicious it is true, yet gladly have avoided, but which he found not without the traces of apparent friend it impossible to tear himself from. He ship at least. Many Florentines were to clung to it, as the spirit of an injured be seen in the streets of Pisa, and some maid is said, in the old legends, to linPisans in the streets of Florence. Still ger round the scene of her ruin. Those the collisions, when they happened to who have had the links of earliest and come into collision, was far from friend consequently most powerful love snapt ly. Each scowled on the other, as if asunder ere well united, alone know the he would have given way at once to feelings which still through life attach open enmity ; but both were equally themselves to the scene of its first rapafraid to begin the attack. The heart's tures, even though its original brightwish of the one was to have spit in the
afterwards have been dimmed face of the other, and cried "villain;" but by, becoming the scene of its bitterest somehow or other there existed for se- desolation. veral years a sort of courtesy and restraint
His wife died little more than a year on both sides, which prevented this ge- after they had been united, leaving Janerally taking place, though sometimes copo a daughter. On this solitary pledge it did occur.
of his wedded love, all his attention had
been lavished, and no expense spared ; | and bright on the picture of an old cruso that when Maddelena attained the sader, giving a shadowy and unusual age of womanhood, there was scarcely look to the countenance. This, togea more accomplished, and not a more gether with the wild imagery of one of beautiful and gentle maiden to be found the Provençal ballads she had been in the whole of Pisa. She was the image reading, deeply embued her mind with of her mother in figure, mind, and tem a melancholy and tender feeling. She per; and this had bound, if possible, threw down the ballad—she gazed on more closely the ties of paternal affec- the bold and rugged outlines of the wartion. Jacopo, in the warmth of his rior's face-she attempted again to read love had never allowed her to leave his-she desisted—and her eyes were risight, or at least to be far from him. vetted on the dark contour of the warShe was seldom to be met with in the rior's countenance, made more striking public places, to which, in those days, by the moonlight which rested upon it. the youth of her age so generally re Her mind could not settle. The hour sorted. The lists, the dance, and the and the scene altogether had wrought marriage-feast were seldom graced by her up into that feverish feeling of roher presence ; and even when she did
mance which all young hearts hare make her appearance there, it was more known, and they the most who have as a spectator than a partaker in their held least intercourse with the world. gaieties; for Jacopo, though he lived in While she continued in this state, that dissolute age, knew and dreaded half in pleasure, half in pain, the tones the danger to which youth and beauty of a lute, in a slow and solemn Italian are exposed to in their communion with air, softly arose from below the casethe world.
ment at which she sat. At first the muUnder the protection and guidance sician's fingers seemed scarcely to touch of this fatherly solicitude, Maddalena the chords. A single note was only had arrived at the age of seventeen, and now and then heard, like the distant her heart was still her own. Many of murmur of a stream in the desert ; then the richest nobles of Pisa had made it gradually rose, and rose, and swelled proposals for her hand, which Jacopo into deeper softness, till the music at had deemed it prudent to refuse. Nay, length burst into all the voluptuousness scarce was there a finger in all Pisa that of perfect melody. Love could not have could touch the lute, which was not, fixed upon a better hour to insinuate some night or other of the year, sweep himself into the most impenetrable ing its chords beneath her latticed win heart. A maid alone and in moonlight, dow. She used to smile as she heard with her senses floating on the lovely the serenades to her own beauty, at sounds of music, and her heart steeped times admiring the musician's skill, and in romantic feeling, rather woos than sometimes blushing as she heard her- shuns his approaches; and we need self, in the same stanza, conipared to scarcely inform our readers of either the rose, the lily, and the morning star. sex that so it was with Maddalena.
One night in December-it was a While the stranger sung in a clear and cold and silent night, and the moon manly voice the words of a plaintive was up, which steeped, as it were, the canzonetta, she drew back the casement, pure white marble of Pisa in her own and half afraid, yet anxious to catch a
and whiter light-Maddalena glimpse of the musician, she leant hersat alone in her panelled chamber, in self timidly over it. The minstrel's anxious expectation of the return of her eyes were fixed intently on the spot father, who had been absent for some where she was; and when he saw her. hours. The moonlight, streamingthrough gently open the lattice, the notes of his the casement at which she sat, fell full lute seemed to swell into greater rap
ture, continuing on the air even after by him for the hand of Maddalena, the musician had ceased. Maddalena which was readily enough agreed to by could perceive, standing in a shadow of Jacopo, who saw no reason,
nor did he the moonlight, occasioned by a project- rack his brain for any, why he should ing part of the building, a young cava
not unite himself in the person of his Jier, wrapt in a loose cloak, and under- daughter with the first of the Pisan noneath it and across his breast one of bility. Meali was a branch of the Lanthose old fashioned lutes which we may franchi family, one of the oldest and see every day represented in the prints most powerful in the state. He had of the wandering Troubadours. The lived but little in his native place, and youth sighed, looked fondly, knelt, and having newly returned to it after a long talked of love. She spoke not, but she absence, he was, of course, the theme listened.
of much and general observation. His We write not for the stupid elf, squire, faults were either altogether unknown, or dame, who has yet to be told that or glossed over in the novelty of his love needs but a beginning; or who return; and whether it was that Jacopo cannot guess, till they have it staring was dazzled with his rank, or captivated them out of countenance in black and by his address, it was agreed before white, that Borgiano (for so the youth they parted that an interview should was called) and Maddalena were lovers take place on the following day. Lanbefore a week had past. It is time, how- franchi, satisfied with the progress he ever, to inform our readers that the had made, went exulting to his palace, youth was of Florentine extraction ; that and Jacopo, musing and chuckling all he had come to Pisa to avail himself of the way over the elevation which he her schools, which had even then obtain- fondly anticipated for his daughter. He ed great celebrity throughout Europe ; found her in a thoughtful moud, and and that he was in the middle of his waiting his return. studies when the incident which we have Borgiano had that evening made a related took place.
more open avowal of his love than he Love, more perhaps in Italy than in had hitherto done. He had sworn his any other country, has always had free plighted faith, and had entreated a reliberty to run its own course. Plant it turn from her ; but however pleasing but in two bosoms, and they are sure, the request might be, it had distressed in spite of the keenest vigilance, to have Maddalena. It was true she loved him, their meetings, their sighs, and their yet she had scarcely ever dared to own oaths. Jacopo knew no more of what it to herself. With the strange caprice was going on between his daughter and of every maiden who loves for the first Borgiano than the nightingale which time, she had dwelt with fond delight sat and sang above the bower, the scene on her affection, and every thing conof their earliest and only interview. nected with it, when alone, and when Women, if the truth must be told, were it was seen only in the lights and shathen the same as they are now; daugh- dows which fancy chose to bestow. ters, in love matters, cheated their gray- | Yet when her lover made the avowal, haired fathers, and wives not unfrequent- which she could not but expect, she ly their fatherly husbands.
was strangely disconcerted, and even deJacopo had been invited one evening pressed in spirits
. In this state Jacopo to the house of the nobles, where seve found her on his arrival at home. ral of the principal men of Pisa were “ Maddalena,” he said, patting her assembled. Meali Lanfranchi, one of at the same time under the chin, “what these, had paid court to the old gentle- | would you say, Maddalena, if you were man, and completely cheated him out now to become a wife?" of his affection. A proposal was made “A wife, father?”
* “ Aye, a wife, Maddalena ; and a dowing mass of his eyebrows. A green wife to the first noble in Pisa. What silk doublet, bespangled with gold, think you of that, my girl ?”
hung down from his shoulder, and in “I think, father; I only think I his hand he bore a round cap of the would rather be your child than wife to same colour, which was ornamented the first noble in all the world.”
with an eagle's feather. « Well, well, Maddalena, your affec When Jacopo, in order to give him tion is not unreturned, and I like you an opportunity of declaring himself, not the worse for this
had left the apartment, Lanfranchi sex's best failing. But we shall talk changed immediately his former awkmore of it to-morrow,
lover wardness and want of confidence for comes. And then, my girl, when he the manner and freedom of a man who is here, there will be soft words and had only to speak in order to be obeystolen glances. You will be gay as a ed. Gazing on Maddalena with the lark in a May morning, and your lover licentious look of a professed libertine, ---But good night, good night,” he said, he seized her by the hand, and poured suddenly stopping when he saw that his forth a torrent of vows and protestations. daughter took little heed of the rhapsody The maid gave a sort of involuntary he was pouring upon her ears; and im- shudder, and started back, but Lanfran printing a paternal kiss upon her cheek, chi still pressing his suit, attempted to which had Aushed into a burning crim- put his arm round her waist. son when she heard him talk of the - Is this the manner, Sir, you repay morrow and a lover, he left her to her my father's kindness, by insult to his self.
daughter ?" she said ; and she accomNext morning Lanfranchi, punctual panied these words with a look of ofto a moment, was at the house of his fended dignity, which for a moment new friend Jacopo, who of course receiv-confused Lanfranchi, and ere he could ed him with the kindest welcome. recover from his surprise, she left the Maddalena stood with her arm leant up- apartment. on the lattice, her eye turned to the Jacopo, as he entered the room, smilbroad expanse of field and vineyard, ing, smirking, and looking sufficiently gradually lessening perspectively till wise, found Lanfranchi standing as if a they joined in with the blue towering spell had hardened every limb of bim Appenines in the distance: and, strange to stone. But whatever the old man's for a female in the immediate presence thoughts were, he determined to remain of an avowed lover to whom she had silent on the subject till the other should no heart to give, she looked all uncon inform him of what had passed. Lancern.
But it was only the appearance franchi, however, bade him adieu, withof a command, and not a real mastery out adverting even to the object of his which she possessed over her feelings. visit, but not without many invitations And Lanfranchi, though a man of the from Jacopo to return on the morrow. world, and little accustomed to lay any The morrow came, and so did Lanfranrestraint upon
his inclinations, felt con chi; but Maddalena remained inflexible fused under the composed look and in never leaving her apartment as long commanding beauty of Maddalena. She as his visits lasted. She was convinced ventured to cast but one glance on her that her father would never force her professed suitor. He was a man ap into a marriage so much against her inparently about thirty years of age, with clination. All this time (what will not a keen grey eye, whose expression, love effect ?) Borgiano and the maiden though subdued at present, seemed ra had their stolen interviews, and surely ther of command than of entreaty, and not the less delightful that they were suited well with the dark and oversha- stolen. Often, when all were at rest,